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Bilingual Therapy

Bilingual Therapy at SCT

At Sammamish Children’s Therapy, we see many kids who speak two or more languages. When a child is having problems developing their speech and language skills, many questions can arise for the parents. It only increases the number of questions when the child speaks another language. The most common questions that arise for parents are these:

In which language should my child’s therapy be done?                                             

Your child’s therapy should be conducted in your child’s dominant language. If they are used to speaking a language at home, that is the language their therapy should be conducted in. Cases can vary between children, and while therapy should almost always be conducted in the family’s home language, your child’s therapist will decide on the beset course of action for your child’s individual needs.

Is bilingualism causing delays in my child’s language acquisition?

The short answer to this question is no. A bilingual child’s progress may take longer to hit certain keystones than a monolingual child, but they will still hit the keystones within the normal age range. The same is true about vocabulary. A bilingual child’s vocabulary set in each individual language may be less than average, however, their total vocabulary set between both languages will be on par.

What are the various languages spoken by the staff of SCT?

The staff at SCT is very diverse, especially when it comes to language variety. Languages spoken by at least one of our therapists currently include Tamil, Hindi, German, Vietnamese, and Russian. If we do not speak the language that is preferred, we will either work collaboratively with the parents as interpreters or refer out.

Is it normal for my child to mix together their languages?

Sometimes, children switch between their two languages within the same sentence. This can raise concern from their parents, because they see it as a sign that their child’s language is delayed, or that the child is confused. The opposite is actually true. Switching between the two languages within a sentence is known as “code switching”. Code switching should be viewed as a sign that your child is becoming bilingually proficient.

If you want your child to speak the majority language, should you stop speaking your home language with your child?

There are many benefits reported for children having a strong understanding of their home language, such as helping the child feel connected at home and a stronger ability to learn a second language. Also, without continuous use of a home language, there is a greater risk of the child losing the language.